Virtual Facilitation and Virtual Learning have become the norm and “go to” in recent years. Whether we are expanding our skill base via a webinar, or whether we are attending a MOOC to learn the latest in a field of study, leveraging virtual learning opportunities is key.
As a provider of virtual learning services for the last fifteen years and having been involved with leading virtual learning as a leader, there are several things that we can do to enhance the learning involved. This is the focus of my 2017 book, Effective Virtual Conversations, and is also the focus of a five week virtual train-the-trainer I lead called Virtual Facilitation Essentials.
You can also read through posts related to Effective Virtual Conversations in my regular Monday series.
To simplify (key in the remote space), five things that we can do consistently in our Design, include:
#1 - Consider and build in regular and frequent engagement touch points. We’ve all been on calls where the facilitator drones on and on in monotone. We know that creating frequent engagement touchpoints for people to engage with others in the virtual space can boost retention and interest. Different engagement touchpoints could involve inviting learners to:
- Comment via chat
- Annotate on the screen
- Reflect or comment on a question
- Input via a poll
While many of us (educators/facilitators/trainers) used to aim for engagement every 7-10 minutes in the in-person realm, in the virtual space this pace may be even more frequent.
# 2 – Create reflective pauses for people to write, and/or note what they are learning. Are you leaving a few minutes for people to note what actions are they going to take? How they are going to apply their learning?
The experiential learning model is grounded in exploring the WHAT? SO WHAT? NOW WHAT? Of a topic. In a virtual session, how are you helping your learners explore all three of these layers?
WHAT – What is this topic all about?
SO WHAT – What is important about this for you? What is the connection for you with this topic?
NOW WHAT – Now what are you going to do?
We’ve all been on calls where there was no time to note what application opportunities there are, and what next steps can be taken. Consider building in reflective pauses to deepen the learning.
#3 – Invite people to share/articulate their thoughts. Many of us create learning via speaking and/or sharing. What opportunities can you build in to create a sharing of information and learning? This might include using a breakout and having people connect with one or two other peers, going around and hearing from each person, and/or using chat or annotation to share their thoughts.
What can you build into your call, or after your call?
#4 – Consider virtual learning in its entirety. While in the “in person realm” it’s often possible to do everything in the room, virtually we may want to consider how to break up the learning process with structured activities coming before and after the learning. I commonly call these “pre-work” and “field work”. Check out an earlier blog post I did on different examples of these at my Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog: Six Ideas for Field work in your next coaching engagement.
Questions to consider:
- What are the different touchpoints people engage in as part of your virtual learning?
- What should they do, read or listen to, before the experience?
- What time should they build in afterwards to focus on application?
- What else is important to note with your programming?
All the best,
Leadership | Teamwork | Business Success
Recent books include: Effective Virtual Conversations (2017), PlanDoTrack (2019) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013)
Follow along with the #90DaysPlanDoTrack series over at Instagram @CoachingBizBuilder
Join the conversation at the Conversation Sparker Zone - our online community where you can explore virtual and team issues, coaching, productivity and business development.
For those looking for tips, tools and ideas about remote work and support for your remote teams, be sure to check out these tags and resources.